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Turkey elections: Anti-refugee politician backs Kilicdaroglu, hints he'll become 'interior minister'

Far-right leader Umit Ozdag announces support for opposition candidate with promise of sending home Syrian refugees within a year
Far-right Victory Party leader Umit Ozdag delivers a press conference at his party's headquarters in Ankara on 23 May 2023 (AFP)
Far-right Victory Party leader Umit Ozdag delivers a press conference at his party's headquarters in Ankara on 23 May 2023 (AFP)

Turkey's far-right Victory Party leader Umit Ozdag has indicated that he will become interior minister if opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu's wins the presidential run-off on Sunday.

Ozdag threw his support behind Kilicdaroglu, head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), during a news conference alongside the presidential hopeful on Wednesday. 

He said the two had agreed to send refugees back to their home countries within a year. 

In a tweet on Wednesday morning, he said he would deport foreign-born residents from Turkey, including Syrian refugees, "as the minister of interior". 

"However, not only Syrians, but anyone who thinks Turkey is the world's amusement park, treats our women as concubines, turns our streets into drug havens, organises Salafist jihadists, and eats our 11 billion dollars a year will go," Ozdag said

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The text of the agreement between the CHP and Victory Party in exchange for the latter's support for Kilicdaroglu does not mention any promises of a ministerial appointment for Ozdag. 

However, it includes a promise to return all "refugees and illegals" to their countries within a year. 

Kilicdaroglu will go head-to-head with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a run-off election on Sunday as neither of the two candidates got more than 50 percent of the vote in the first round on 14 May.

The president secured 49.4 percent of the votes, while Kilicdaroglu won 44.96 percent. Third-placed ultra-nationalist candidate Sinan Ogan got 5.2 percent. 

Ogan ran as the presidential candidate of the Ancestral Alliance, a nationalist coalition that included Ozdag's Victory Party. 

However, the alliance broke apart following the election as none of its candidates won any parliamentary seats. 

Ogan announced on Monday that he would back Erdogan, citing stability and successfully injecting nationalist rhetoric into the "agenda of the country". 

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